An Arizona cheese crisp (simply “cheese crisp” in the region) is an open-faced, flour tortilla covered in shredded cheese, baked until crisp on top. It is similar to a quesadilla, but distinct in that a cheese crisp is not folded over, and that it is also baked until the tortilla becomes crisp. Common cheeses to use include in various combinations are Oaxaca, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar. Cheese crisps sometimes are topped with onions, coriander (cilantro), or peppers. The cheese crisp is said to have been made famous by El Charro Café in Tucson, Arizona.
Cheese crisps are ubiquitous in Arizona, but rarely found outside of the state other than places popular with Arizona tourists such as Puerto Peñasco and San Diego.
- 1 - 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 small flour tortillas (the thinner the better, or use 1 burrito size tortilla)
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded (or a blend of Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Oaxaca)
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- ½ cup chorizo, finely diced, optional
- Preheat oven to 175°C.
- Slice the jalapeño pepper into thin strips.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Add the sliced jalapeño and saute for 5 minutes until the skin of the pepper starts to blister. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the pork chorizo and saute until fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
- Place each of the small tortillas on a baking sheet. Spread 1 teaspoon of butter on each tortilla. Place the baking sheet into the oven and let the tortillas toast. It will take about 5-7 minutes but keep your eyes on them. Once the edges start to turn golden brown, remove from the oven.
- Place ¼ cup of cheese on each of the tortillas and place back into the oven for about 3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven.
- Top with spring onions, jalapeño peppers and chorizo if desired.
- Serve immediately.